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A manger his; yet foon enforc'd to fly

Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king'
Were dead, who fought his life, and missing fillid
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem;
From Egypt home return’d, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 80
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king; but now

grown to man, acknowledg’d, as I hear, By John the Baptist, and in public shown, Son own'd from Heaven by his Father's voice;

85 I look'd for some great change; to honor? no, But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold, That to the fall and rising he should be Of many in Ifraël, and to a sign Spoken against, that through my very soul A sword shall pierce; this is my

favor'd lot, My exaltation to afflictions high; Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest; I will not argue that, nor will repine. But where delays he now? some great intent 95 Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen, I lost him, but so found, as well I saw He could not lose himself; but went about His Father's business; what he meant I mus'd, Since understand; much more his absence now 100 Thus long to some great purpose he obscures. But I to wait with patience am inur'd;




My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And say’ings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
Recalling what remarkably had pass’d
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
The while her son tracing the desert wild,
Sole but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on earth, and mission high:
For Satan with fly preface to return

115 Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone Up to the middle region of thick air, Where all his potentates in council fat; There without sign of boast, or sign of joy, Solicitous and blank he thus began.

Princes, Heav'n's ancient Sons, ethereal Thrones, Demonian Spirits now, from th' element Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call’d Pow’rs of fire, air, water, and earth beneath, So may we hold our place and these mild seats 125 Without new trouble; such an enemy Is risen to invade us, who no less Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell; I, as I undertook, and with the vote Consenting in full frequence was impower’d, 130

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Have found him, view'd him, tasted him, but find
Far other labor to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam first of Men,
Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this man inferior far,

If he be man by mother's side at least,
With more than human gifts from Heav'n adorn’d,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, left confidence

Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here; I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist; left I who erst

145 Thought none my equal, now be over-match’d.

So spake th' old Serpent doubting, and from all
With clamor was assur'd their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,

The sensualleft, and after Asmodai
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advis'd.
Set woman in his eye, and in his walk;

Among daughters of men the fairest found;
Many are in each region passing fair

As the noon sky; more like to Goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, inchanting tongues


Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible t'approach, 160
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the pow'r to soft'n and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, 165
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguild the heart
Of wiseft Solomon, and made him build, 170
And made him bow to the Gods of his wives.

To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd.
Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat’dst on womankind, admiring 175
Their shape, their color, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys.
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew,
False titled sons of God, roaming the earth
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st,
In wood or grove by mosly fountain fide,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay 185
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,


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Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

Satir, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts
Delight not all; among the sons of men,
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorn’d
All her assaults, on worthier things intent? 195
Remember that Pellean conqueror,
A youth, how all the beauties of the cast
He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass’d;
How he firnam'd of Africa dismiss'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of honor, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos’d:
But he whom we attempt is wiser far

Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on th’accomplishment
Of greatest things; what woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond desire? or should she confident,
As sitting queen ador’d on beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
T'enamour, as the zone of Venus once



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